November Untranslatable Rambling

gobsmacked AND flabbergasted

I lead with some heavy stuff; it gets lighter after the pic.

Read the sad tale of Bill Mantlo, former comic book writer and attorney, until a hit-and-run accident wrecked his life. Mark Evanier, linking to the article, writes: “Those who still fear government ‘death panels’ should take note of the portions of Mantlo’s story where his private insurer keeps trying to cut off all payments to him because, after all, their primary duty is to their stockholders.” Here’s the direct link to the article, and here’s Evanier’s correction to the article about the comic book process, which does not negate the insane way Mantlo has been warehoused.

But for sheer devastation, few things I’ve read actually made me weep like Jaquandor’s recollection of a particular day.

Joe Paterno and Jerry Sandusky’s Next Coaching Gig

The Beatles album artwork worth £70,000: Top 10 most valuable record sleeves revealed

How music changes our brains

The Beach Boys An Introduction to “SMiLE Sessions”, released this month. It’s great seeing Mike Love, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston and Brian Wilson on the same page.

Michelle Shocked – Quality of Mercy (version)

Evanier also found The Lambeth Walk as performed by Adolf Hitler and a batch of Nazi soldiers, which reportedly had Joseph Goebbels running, screaming from the room in anger. In fact, there are about a dozen versions of this song on his blog this month.

A song about Roman Emperor Constantine…sung to the tune of “Come On Eileen”. Of COURSE, it is.

SamuraiFrog linked to Life Is a Rock (But the Radio Rolled Me) by Reunion. What caught my eye, though, were the initial visuals, which I recognized INSTANTLY from a commercial for Country Corn Flakes; I knew that ad by heart, I’m afraid.

American expat linguist Lynneguist, now in the UK, lists the untranslatables, those British and American English terms that don’t travel well across the pond. I made a comment, and a word I used as a jumping-off point for even more discussion.

Saucy Shakespearean Slings

Sid Melton, R.I.P. – if you watched a lot of TV in in the 1950s and later, you might say, “Oh, THAT guy.”

Maine Man’s Car Logs One Million Miles, Equivalent to Driving Around Earth 40 Times. Imagine how far he would have gotten if he’d only taken care of the vehicle.

Dustbury’s Today’s brain-cloud generator. Say What?

Mike Sterling was gobsmacked AND flabbergasted. Which is how I felt when I saw the middle item, about a new font, on Jaquandor’s page.

The Harvey Pekar Library Statue at the Comics as Art & Literature Desk — A Comics project in Cleveland Heights, OH. And Steve Bissette’s support for the same. Plus, in support of this memorial, Joyce Brabner has “coaxed Alan Moore out of the darkness wherein he dwells to video record a special message to comics folk in which he’s offering several hours– by invitation only– video conference from his home in the UK. Viewers may ask impertinent questions. Alan tells great stories.”

Bill Cosby – The Playground

Hawkeye Pierce as a serial killer


Pols’ promise to themselves by Roger Green, Scottsbluff

George Harrison: 10 Years Gone

George was executive producer of Monty Python’s Life of Brian, a film I just picked up on DVD.


Unless I am misremembering, the first TIME magazine cover after September 11, 2001, that was not about 9/11 or the subsequent war in Afghanistan was the one announcing the death of George Harrison. I was sad that George died, of course, but I knew he was sick and not likely to get better. The top cover was the US version; the bottom one, the UK take.

This is obvious, I imagine, but one deals differently when someone dies expectedly or unexpectedly, by disease or by murder. John Lennon’s death a couple of decades earlier was a jolt; George’s was just sad.

In fact, George’s passing made me melancholy the more I thought about his contribution to the world, especially around the time of what would have been his 59th birthday the following February. He was a Beatle, of course. But he also organized the first of those superstar extravaganzas, the Concert for Bangladesh. He put out some great music as a solo artist. And he was executive producer of a couple dozen movies, including Monty Python’s Life of Brian, a film I just picked up on DVD, I liked it so much.

There was a Martin Scorsese documentary about George this year, which I haven’t seen. Here are some photos from it, and a piece from the New York Times. Also, there was an article Living in the Material World – 5 Things I Learned About George Harrison from the Scorsese Documentary, four of which I actually knew.

Other recent articles about George:
Rolling Stone magazine AGAIN did one of those 100 greatest Beatles songs. George had two in the top 10.

George had an Indian soul, according to his wife

The unseen GH photo album

George Harrison exhibit at the GRAMMY Museum

Borders liquidators sell off George Harrison guitar

And, of course, some music:

A couple of songs where George namechecks the Beatles:
Living in the Material World – GH
When We Was Fab – GH

Two versions of the Wilbury Twist by the Traveling Wilburys
1990 version, with lots of then-current stars
2007 version, which dumps most of them

A cover version of one of George’s best songs as a Beatle:
While My Guitar Gently Weeps by Eric Clapton and Paul McCartney, both of whom played on the original.

T is for Tipos Typos

Some mornings, I reread my blog and only then do I see my egregious error.

In one of my favorite websites, Regret the Error, there is a lengthy column about how copy-editing errors take place, in this case, the Washington Post, and what to do about it. One quote from the Post: “Mistakes occur more frequently online than in print, generally, because online copy goes through fewer editors…But online errors are easier and faster to correct.”

I am a rather good speller. I remember that I was so proud to get 100 in my 5th-grade spelling final. Though I was no good at spelling bees; I need to write it down in order to ascertain that it looks wrong. But spellcheck has made me lazy. Add to that the fact that I’m a lousy typist and one will discover typos in this blog.

This used to pain me greatly, and still bugs me. Some mornings, I reread my blog, and only then do I see my egregious error. Generally, it’s a word that is a homonym. I DO know the difference between here and here, I really do. Or I’m distracted and leave off a repeated letter or series of letters, such as Missippi for Mississippi.

There are words I tend to check, such as words ending in ible and able, or ance and ence. I remember a rare time watching a show called Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader, and I recall that the ‘1st-grade word’ was allegiance; does it have 2 or 3 Es? Having a second-grader, I don’t think it’s a first-grade word at all.

Some words I have tricks for spelling. For instance, facetious I know has the five vowels, in order (and six, if one adds the -ly). Still, I pronounce it wrong in my mind: FACE tee us, rather than fah SEE shus.

There are some bloggers who are generally good spellers. I tend to send e-mails to people I believe who know the difference but just made a mistake. One blogger who I follow wrote warp in a place that didn’t make sense. I mentioned another error in the sentence; then he changed warp to wrap. I then suggested warm, and he realized THAT was the correct word.

Whereas some folks that just don’t know the difference between its and it’s, despite the previous correction, I tend not to bother; noting this would just be harassment. I used to correct because I figured people might think that they were less well informed; now I recognize, in a world of C U L8R texts, that may not necessarily be the case.

In any case, I really like these proofreading tips from the New York Times. Among the points: Use spelling checkers but don’t trust them. In particular, be aware of homophone confusion: complement and compliment, accept and except, effect and affect, oversees and overseas. Rather like what I’ve experienced.

Incidentally, even the typo watchdogs can make mistakes.

ABC Wednesday – Round 9


With all the big, Oscar-bait movies coming out in the fall, what is the one movie I wanted to see most of all this week? If you’ve read the title of this piece, you already know. I think it’s in no small part to a very clever campaign of faux trailers online – Green with Envy is still my favorite – that kept up the interest and bringing the Muppets back in the limelight.

The movie is about two big Muppet fans, Walter, and his brother Gary (Jason Segal). They and Gary’s long-time girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams) take a trip to Los Angeles and discover, though, that lots of people HAVE forgotten Kermit the Frog and his cohorts. Worse, there is an unfortunate contractual provision that will make things worse.

I didn’t see most of the movies, but I was a huge fan of The Muppet Show TV program. This entry, which we saw at the local Madison Theatre at a not-that-crowded Saturday matinee, seemed like a logical extension of where the various Muppets have been over the years. I sought out the three critics (out of 125) who panned the film. One said, “Except for a few good zingers from balcony dwellers Statler and Waldorf, there isn’t much here for mom and dad.” Oddly, I had just the opposite sense; I went with the wife and daughter, and I’m convinced that the adults enjoyed it more than the daughter did. And SHE said she wanted to watch it again.

Another: “The Muppets has none of the easy confidence of the original TV show or the 1979 movie.” Well, yes, and that is precisely the whole point. And finally, “The Muppet charm, always more at home within the intimate frame of a TV set, is gone here.” A paean to nostalgia by someone who just didn’t get it. This is a film where classic 21st-century copyright infringement plays a pivotal role.

I loved this movie. My wife and I laughed out loud, even when the daughter didn’t. The guest performers – Mickey Rooney? – were well used. Segal was very good as both writer and actor. Ever since I saw her in Enchanted, I knew Amy Adams would be great. Chris Cooper, unsurprisingly, is a great villain. My favorite moment in the movie involved two instruments and two/four people. Yet there is a bit of melancholy as well, as happens sometimes when old friends try to rekindle the past.

I’d give it a 3.8 out of 4.

Oh, on the way home, a total stranger and I were torturing my daughter by singing a song from the end credits, which is one of the Muppets’ 20 best musical moments, complete with video.
Lest I forget, a quite decent Toy Story short, Small Fry, precedes the movie. Is that how therapy works?

The Lydster, Part 92: Homework

I had no idea how much HER schoolwork would impact on MY time.

When Lydia had homework in first grade, it was manageable. She would get a packet of eight sheets on Monday, and they were due on Friday. It became easy to pace the work. If Lydia had something going on one night, we could work around it.

But in second grade, she gets homework each of the first four weeknights of the week, PLUS a weekly spelling assignment. Monday night, in particular, is a real pain.

Lydia has to fit in dinner, her ballet class, her daily nebulizer, plus the usual ready-for-bed routine she goes through, in addition to the homework. Sometimes she and I were working on homework Tuesday morning, just before school. But with the new, earlier bus schedule for me, that is not feasible anymore.

The week of Halloween, she had no homework all week, because of some school testing. It felt almost like a vacation, not just for her, but also for me, who is the one generally helping and/or prodding her to finish her assignments. I had no idea how much HER schoolwork would impact on MY time. And it’s got to be tough for those students whose parents who DON’T participate in their children’s education.

I relish her school breaks more than she does, I do believe.
Happy significant natal day, ZN.

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